Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:seems about the same (Score 2) 320 320

The question of teaching quality is a part of the problem. Almost no university in the US judges professors based on teaching. They claim to do so, but the tenure decision is primarily a judgement of publications and external funding. In my case the quality of publications was largely irrelevant. I assume that better universities judge quality of research, but I haven't been there. We need to seriously consider having teaching positions for PhDs in addition to research positions. I am not sure if the institutional motivation is money or prestige, but I think that many schools short-change students to pursue research. Expecting research and funding degrades teaching. Better teaching will help to produce better research.

I also like the idea of researchers not being under such huge pressure to survive. Pressure, along with incentives, contributes to the willingness to take shortcuts and to publish made-up results.

My last comment is that publicly funded research should not result in private wealth. If the public pays for the research, we should get cheaper prices on the goods. Perhaps there could be a system where such products are public domain and available for all to develop and market competitively.

Comment: Re:It's high time for a new consumer protection la (Score 0) 227 227

I like your plan. It's one of my pet peeves that I pay for satellite TV service and still have to watch ads. It seemed fair enough 50 years ago when the only choice was over the air and ads were the only way TV could make money. Those days are gone and the ads should die.

Comment: Re:Follow the Ubuntu versioning scheme. (Score 1) 199 199

I like this suggestion. There could be revisions by year, month and day. So 15.2.13 would be Feb. 13, 2015. There would be a need for a few times with multiple releases in a day. This could be done with an optional sequence number: 15.2.13-3 for the third release for 2/13/15 (or 15/2/13 for a more rational date format). At least the version numbering has some meaning. It's almost meaningless to me to see 3.16.0-30 as a version number.

Comment: Re:The Middle Class is the Bedrock of Society (Score 1) 839 839

There is some limit to the amount of physical resources on the Earth. There is likely a smaller limit of the amount of resources which can be harvested without destroying the planet's ecosystem. Malthus was basically correct in his assessment of population growth. We can probably feed 10B people but not 100B. There are other types of resources which are more mental in nature to which the limits are harder to assess. Over time we can increase the ability to amass mental resources. Of course, it may be possible to move into space and then perhaps there is no limit to physical resources. I do agree with your concept of balance. We can be socialistic enough to provide for comfortable living for the masses while allowing those with ambition and talent to live more comfortably. We will always have wealthy people. In my mind the proper balance includes a comfortable, though not luxurious lifestyle for all, with enough economic mobility for people to be motivated to work. The top 1% can live like kings without the 99% being serfs.

Comment: Re:Linux (Score 1) 194 194

It's never been a nightmare for me to maintain a Linux computer remotely. I would never suggest having non-savvy people keeping a computer up to date with Linux, Windows or OS X. Kubuntu will keep itself up to date if set to auto-update and ssh can be used to remotely manage the computer if needed. This might be a poor solution if the original poster has no Linux experience. I suppose the fact that the question was asked should have been a clue that this wasn't a Linux-savvy person or there would have been no question. Given the assumption that the original poster was a newb, then you might be right. Hopefully experienced help is available for whatever choice is made.

Comment: Linux (Score 0) 194 194

Linux runs Skype and Google+ Hangouts. I can't vouch for Facetime. Ubuntu works well with automatic updates and can be administered remotely as needed. The user interface needs to have icons on the desktop for the needed programs. I would use kubuntu since I have never liked Unity.

Comment: Re:Uh, sure.. (Score 1) 359 359

I have been working on an IDE (primarily for assembly language) for almost 2 years. It runs on Linux, Windows and OS X, using Qt for the GUI components. I edit exclusively in vim on all 3 platforms and compile with g++ on Linux and OS X, but compile with cl on Windows. Well, truthfully I use the Qt qmake tool to prepare a proper Makefile for the OS and then use either make or nmake. I debug typically under Linux and generally use the qDebug function. I will use gdb for a few commands here and there. I haven't yet needed to use the Visual Studio GUI or debugger. Editing with vim is much more efficient than nearly any IDE. I have done a little VB and liked IntelliSense there. I haven't tried it with C++. I suppose I need to add: "Stay off my lawn."

Comment: Should have been plan A (Score 1) 230 230

Google should have designed Android around C or possibly C++. It would be more power efficient, but, more importantly, it would be free from involvement with Oracle. There is no reason why apps written in C for Android shouldn't be recompilable for X86 or ARM. It does require a bit more care. Fat binaries would also work well enough. Any large app is likely to be mostly data anyway.

Comment: Matter-Antimatter Explosions (Score 4, Interesting) 393 393

I wonder if it is possible that the Universe has some regions of matter and some of antimatter. In between there would be mixed regions and the resulting explosions could tend to keep the different regions separate. Initially asymmetry in the distribution would leave some small regions of each type. The m-am explosions could force separation and a certain portion of the matter regions would merge with other matter regions and the same for antimatter. This seems like a fairly obvious thought, so I assume that it has been considered and ruled out. Why or why not?

Comment: Email is simple (Score 1) 299 299

The concept of email is simple: It's just really fast mail, except that the security sucks. For the post office to be as bad, it would have to copy each letter in each building and vehicle the letter entered and keep the copies poorly guarded for years. Seriously, a justice can quickly learn enough about email to judge sensibly. That doesn't mean they will, but it is simple enough to learn. The bigger issue is the excessive influence of money in all areas of government.

Comment: Hire an expert (Score 2) 479 479

Anyone with a lot of money and little computer security knowledge needs to hire someone to set up their computers and teach them safe practices. It would be worth several thousand dollars to a milliionaire to avoid the sort of problems Ms. McWhorter encountered. Perhaps she is not rich, but she has won a Pulitzer prize for writing. I think she could afford to try harder to be safe. Ideally an operating system should protect the user, but it is practically impossible to write complex software with no errors. People should be suspicious when their operating system comes with a time trial of anti-virus software. The fact that such software exists, makes it pretty obvious that the system is fragile. Ms. McWhorter writes well, but is clearly not a computer security expert. She needs help with her computer and on-line affairs.

Comment: Eugenics will happen (Score 1) 251 251

Currently it is politically incorrect to consider eugenics. I personally think that our view of this will gradually change as our knowledge of genetics increases. Suppose it becomes easy to select traits like athletic ability, appearance or intelligence in children. Some people will certainly try to give their child an advantage in life. It will happen like steroids in sports. Once some children are born with better traits, others will be tempted to do the same with their children. The ugly part of eugenics is association with racism. As long as we don't have categories of people forbidden to reproduce, it should be politically acceptable. It's not inherently evil to do something to opt for smarter or stronger children. Probably there will be successes and failures, but I think people will do it. For me I wonder what people would choose: intelligence, beauty, strength, ... With respect to math genes, it is currently hard to find a job with a Ph.D. in math, so there isn't a huge need for more people with good math genes though a few geniuses might be useful. My guess is that different folks will choose different traits and that the human race will become more diverse. People will continue living in interesting times.

Comment: Keep it simple (Score 1) 465 465

Your best bet is to use C. It is highly efficient. If possible use computational code like the Atlas BLAS package. This code will run circles around your own code no matter what language you use. You already know C and moving to C++ is a major problem. All the other languages are distractions from your purpose.

If possible run multiple, independent processes rather than writing parallel code. That can be a major ordeal.

If your goal is to process data as opposed to learning elaborate programming techniques, keep simplicity in mind. C is a very powerful language and you can reach maximal efficiency for many problems using Atlas BLAS and multiple processes. If you goal is to get a degree in CS, ignore what I've suggested.

Comment: Re:State Sites Also (Score 1) 267 267

I think $54M is a bit expensive too. I can imagine that it might take some effort, but this would pay a team of 500 programmers for a year. I expect it could be done by a team of 5 to 10 in the same time. This sounds like the mythical $500 hammer to me.

A better alternative would be to set up no exchanges and let the insurance companies provide the web sites. You would find some innovative people setting up exchanges on their own just like you now find exchanges for hotels and airlines. All the government needed to do was tell the insurance companies the new insurance laws and let it happen.

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (5) All right, who's the wiseguy who stuck this trigraph stuff in here?

Working...